It’s easy to be a cynic, like the person who made this ever-so-uninspiring sign . . . but . . . weird things are happening to me when I travel abroad since President Obama was elected. I was recently at a local summer festival in Akishima, near Tokyo. Now, just to give you some idea about the town of Akishima, it’s a good hour’s train ride from the center of Tokyo, and that’s on an express train. They’ve got a bit of industry there, but it’s fairly “sleepy” as a town compared with Tokyo. The big attraction for the festival, which was held at the elementary school near the train station, was a raised platform where the townspeople took turns amusing one another by belting out karaoke tunes. My friend’s 87 year old mother snuck out of the house to go back to the festival after we’d called it quits, and we found her sipping sake and eating noodles with the over-80 crowd in the VIP tent when we finally tracked her down.Continue reading
My cats are a great source of inspiration to me. They seem fairly content without many possessions, they do what they want to most of the day (poke around in small holes for rodents, then sleep), and they don’t complain much as long as they get plenty to eat and have someone pay a little attention to them now and then. One of my cats, Dinky, is truly a miracle cat. She came to our home over 16 years ago with her brother Oscar. She was already 3 or 4 years old, and had a big piece of wire holding one of her leg bones together that could be felt through her fur. A tiny runt, she was picked on by Oscar, then a succession of bigger cats, all of whom she outlived.
What I admire most about Dinky, however is how she dealt with great adversity. Several years ago she was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer growing in her leg, which she had gotten from the anti-leukemia vaccine. Her leg had to be removed up to the hip in order to save her life, and the vaccine manufacturers were very happy to pay for the whole operation. I wondered how a little cat like her could manage on just three legs, but the vet assured me that a back leg was something she could limp by without. Continue reading